2021 Spring Series 5 – Mother’s Day

The wind built over the day to the point it was quite sporty.  Nevertheless, a great day to be sailing.

Below are the day’s results and cumulative results for Spring Series 1 through 5.   The  cumulative results are scored by averaging the best 50% +1 races you sailed. If you sailed fewer than that number, you’re marked with a #.

Photos from Nic Bogren.

Albacore_SS_cum Albacore_SS5

Buccaneer_SS_cum

Flying Scot_SS_cum Flying Scot_SS5

I20_SS_cum I20_SS5

Laser_SS_cum Laser_SS5

Lightning_SS_cum Lightning_SS5

2020-2021 LASER FROSTBITE SERIES #17

It’s Groundhog Day with another 3rd place write-up from me. Surely no frostbites today – sunburns were more likely. It was like a high school dance in winter with few participants appropriately dressed for the temperature, the venue not quite fit for purpose, yet everyone seemingly having a good time. We’re used to shifting winds on the Potomac, but today took it to a new level. It reminded me of Rumsfeld when he confidently said the WMDs were, “east, west, south and north somewhat.” Dan and Mike energetically boated around trying to have the marks in the right direction only to find that between the warning sound and the start not only might it change which end of the starting line was favorable, but which was the more logical windward mark. Big thanks to Dan and Mike for adding another great sailing day, and to Farley for delivering the attached results.

So, how does one do well on a day like today? Probably three key things: find the wind, tack on the shifts, and get a good start.  Finding the wind is about keeping your head up and looking on the water and other boats.  I did a lot of tacking today, and mastering the tacking is really important in these light winds. That is probably the biggest thing I’ll practice now that the series is over – efficient roll tacks. When starting in light wind, free wind matters. Starting close to too many other boats can be risky, and I tended to do better when I just found a fairly open spot on the line where I could start with some boat speed and no one stealing my wind.
This is it for the Frostbite series – it has been great fun! Restarting sailing this past fall has really been a bright spot for me during covid.  I’ll miss the regatta next weekend but look forward to many more fun races, practices, and dock chats in the spring.
The Buccaneer Fleet at Potomac River Sailing Association (PRSA) will host the annual Easter Buccy Regatta on Saturday, April 3rd at Washington Sailing Marina, Alexandria, VA. This popular event, which features a variety of races and an on-the-water Easter egg hunt, is fun for sailors of all ages and experience levels. See attached 2021 Easter Buccy Regatta Sailing Instructions for more details.   Please note the following as well:
  • Race Committee volunteers are needed.  Go to the Race Committee page to sign up.
  • There is no entry fee, but you must send an email to Jeff Neurauter (jmnsailor@yahoo.com) by March 26 if you want to participate.  Let’s get this sailing season STARTED!!!

2020-2021 Laser Frostbite Series #15

Sunday was sunny, warmish, and probably the windiest frostbite day so far.  John and Greg laid out an Olympic triangle course, which provided for planing when the gusts coincided with the reach legs. Greg and John heroically tried to adjust the course to the changing winds and were, on average, successful. Big thanks to John and Greg for RCing and to Farley for the attached results.

The starts were exciting – it was often possible to sail the length of the line in less than 20 seconds, so it quickly got crowded.  I preferred shuttling between the pin and the boat and coming on port to find a good spot behind the RC boat about 35 seconds before the start.  That way I avoided getting stuck in a crowd … it worked sometimes. Having, for once, the current largely in the same direction as the wind also made the typical strategy of lingering on the line viable.

On the upwind leg, gusts often came along with 30-40 degree wind shifts. That meant we had to be on our toes … or more literally ready to quickly adjust the sheet, rudder, and body position. The first victim I witnessed was Jim G., who had to tack as Farley came on starboard right at the time of a big gust and wind shift, which landed Jim with a taste of the Potomac.

Downwind was fun as there was just enough wind for a bit of waves to form. That allowed for practicing both following the waves and using body movement and sheeting to control the boat with minimal rudder. Supposedly s-turns on the downwind leg are more efficient, but I still haven’t figured them out. During stronger gusts, the jibing could also get exciting.  At one point I was chasing Len for the first place he capsized right by the mark. I then managed to not only also capsize, but as I tried to climb around to the daggerboard I somehow tripped in a way that had me drop backward in the water hitting daggerboard on the way down before having my first taste of the Potomac. A far cry from the salty sea water I grew up with, but not as bad as feared. Glorious as my fail felt, had we had a weekly epic performance award, it would have probably gone to Tyler, who artfully lodged 8603 almost completely atop Celeste’s laser. Surely I missed many other exciting incidents – all in all, another beautiful Sunday on the Potomac.

Now, this is my 3rd 3rd place write-up, so I’d suggest we adjust to formula next season to include more authors.  Not just because I’m lazy, but also for literary diversity and because I’m curious about others’ experiences and ideas.

Finally, happy International Women’s Day – it is truly a joy to have you dedicated, fearless, fun, and lovely women both on the water and on the dock – you represent the best of what IWD stands for!

2020-2021 Laser Frostbit Series #15

2020-2021 Laser Frostbite Series #14

Hi everybody,
Here’s my 3rd place writeup, starting with an overview of our skiff-maintenance lesson:
 
Skiff Stuff. Before we launched, Stew Harris gave a great lesson on proper skiff maintenance (Thanks, Stew!). For those of you unable to attend, here are some highlights:
  • FuelKeep the fuel tank above 1/2 full and ideally above 2/3 full. This prevents condensation, which prevents water in the fuel, which prevents the motor not working as what happened last week. There is no way to visually see water in the fuel; you know that watery fuel is likely the problem when the skiff won’t start. Thus, if it is your day and the fuel level is below 2/3 full (ish), go to the Shell station and fill up. There are gas tanks in the locker by the boat.
  • Cover. Be sure the cover is on tight so that water does not pool and does not end up in the boat.
  • Drain Plugs. There are three at the back of the boat. Make sure they are all in before launching.
  • Motor up! There is a switch on the throttle that raises and lowers the engine; the engine MUST be up during trailering because it might hit something, especially the parking bumper in the trailer spot.
  • Battery Switch. There is a switch in the big box at the back of the skiff that turns the battery on/off. This must be off at the end of the day.
Think that covers the main points, but if I forgot something, feel free to reply to this email so everyone knows.
Racing. HUGE kudos to Celeste and Jolie for being race committee and getting off five races on a cold and wet afternoon! Scores attached via Farley (Thanks, Farley!)
In terms of conditions, it was rather rainy with a light easterly breeze and a decent southern-flowing current. If you want to know what really worked well on Sunday, ask Steen – he won four of the five races!  Here are a few observations:
  • Head out of the boat (another reminder) – Sunday was one of those days when my position at any given point felt more tenuous than usual – if I was ahead, it could change easily, and if I was behind, especially at the first leeward rounding, there were often opportunities for catching up. Thus, it was a day that seemed to require a more than usual amount of paying attention to everything – other boats, how they were headed, the wind (which was patchy and not always easily visible on the water), and with the current, the location of the marks, especially the leeward mark. I didn’t do quite enough of this.
  • Starts. The day started with a boat-favored line, which made things a bit crowded at the starboard end. To make things even more challenging, the current kept the committee boat facing upriver and perpendicular to the direction of the wind which meant that it was easier than usual to snag the anchor line due to both the orientation of the committee boat and the direction and magnitude of the current. One race I got snagged on the anchor line (note to self!). In the later races, I had decent luck starting further down the generous line and catching what seemed to be more wind/more favorable shifts on the left side of the course.
  • Leeward Leg. Downwind legs tended to be very slow. Going high(ish) generally helped, but I had luck going a bit lower during some of the earlier races. Sometimes it was a regular downwind and sometimes it was more of a reach, even on the same leg! At one point I, like many others, had to approach close-hauled just to get to the leeward mark due to the wind mostly dying and having to battle the current. Fun times.

Additional comment. Thank you to those of you who were really good about yelling starboard and/or communicating about whether I could keep going or not. Let’s keep that communication up! Not just on windward legs, but noting overlaps (or not) at mark roundings too. It really helps.

Hope everyone has a good rest of their week! This Sunday is looking sunny, thankfully!  
Laura